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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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March 12, 2008 1:41 PM

What did Chopp say about the prospect of taxes?

Posted by David Postman

During the taping of TVW’s Olympia On Call yesterday, House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler was asked about the possibility of a tax increase next year. She responded by saying that a recent news story quoting House Speaker Frank Chopp acknowledging the possibility was a mischaracterization of his comments and that one reporter had gotten it wrong.

I wasn’t here at the time. But I found the story today and read a transcript of the Feb. 28 media availability with Chopp. (I also have a tape of the meeting.) The story strikes me as a fair summary of what Chopp said. But you can read the transcript yourself and see if you agree with this from Associated Press reporter Curt Woodward:

Washington's powerful House speaker has acknowledged the possibility of tax increases to balance next year's state budget, but adds that Democrats want to avoid such a step if possible.

Here’s a transcript of the key part of the meeting with reporters.

Question: What do you think the prospects are - as much as you allow yourself to have a crystal ball in front of us - for potential tax increase in the next session? I mean, the Senate even has some proposed in their budget now.

Chopp: Oh the, liquor tax surcharge or whatever it's called?

Reporter: Yeah, right.

Chopp: I don't know, we'll have to deal with that then.

I don't want to anticipate having to do that, but we've got to see how the budget unfolds and how the revenue forecasts actually come in the door.

We'd obviously rather not do that. But we've done that in the past when we've had good justification for it, and when we've needed to make investments.

I mean, part of the reason why our economy's doing better is that we've made investments in our transportation infrastructure and in other things, much more so than other states, by far.

So, we're benefiting from that. Because whenever you invest in a transportation project, you not only get the economic return of the construction, but you've got a lot better economy going throughout the private sector.

So it has this ripple effect that's very beneficial, both for the public coffers, but also for private business.

So, we have literally invested more than the vast majority of other states in these infrastructure projects - on a per capita basis, by the way - obviously there are some states that are bigger than us, obviously. But on a per capita basis, we've done quite well."

And those investments have paid off for the economy, which then generates more revenue into the state coffers, which goes to great stuff.

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